Luke Shaw is set to feature for Manchester United tonight as they take on West Ham for a place in the EFL Cup semi final.
However, the fact that he didn't even make the match day squad for the Premier League fixture between the two clubs this past Sunday is evidence enough that the England left-back remains well down the pecking order when it comes to Jose Mourinho's ideal United XI.
Publicly criticised twice already this season by the Portuguese, Shaw's future at United is surprisingly under threat just a few months after his return from a horrific broken leg was heralded by fans of the club.
And, according to a report from The Times (subscription required), those close to the 21-year-old defender think they know why Mourinho is giving Shaw the cold shoulder this season.
Per the report, there is a suspicion amongst Shaw's confidants that the former Chelsea manager still holds a grudge against the left-back because he turned down a move to Stamford Bridge way back in 2014.
Then still a Southampton player, Chelsea were indeed linked to a move for Shaw before United made him the most expensive teenager in world football in June '14.
Whether Mourinho would really still hold that against the young Englishman is unclear but it certainly seems to be something those surrounding Shaw aren't willing to rule out.
Back in the summer, the United defender addressed the issue of now being managed by a man who he turned down the opportunity of playing for.
“We’ve had a little joke about it,” Shaw told The Guardian.
“He’s a cool manager. ‘Why didn’t you come?’ he wanted to know. I just felt I had more opportunity of first-team football here."
If the speculation is correct then that "little joke" is no longer very funny.
Shaw has managed only six appearances for the Red Devils since Mourinho took over in the summer and has seen his stock fall dramatically since the start of the season.
He was criticised for his performance against Watford and, after apparently telling his manager he wasn't healthy enough to play against Swansea recently, Mourinho questioned his mind set.
Whether Shaw can do enough to win around his manager remains to be seen, but a confident display against West Ham tonight would be an important step.
Especially when you consider there is already talk of the defender being loaned out to Crystal Palace in January.
For his part, The Times also notes that Shaw isn't keen on a short-term move and wants to fight for his place at Old Trafford.
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